Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Electoral reform: more urgent now than ever

Forget the hot air of pre-election proclaims: there cannot be a serious change of direction under the rotten, outdated form of bicephalus communism that is this voting system.

While the recession of the late 70s may have -at least partly- been attributed to the allegedly decaying social democratic consensus or to the striking unions, the current mega-crisis is purely the product of capitalism at its greediest.

Like we noted last year, if you consider lower income tax at the top, weak trade unions, the explosion of casual work, the availability of cheap foreign labour, City de-regulation, tax avoidance and excessive pay at the top, this recession kicked in after two consecutive decades of the most solidly business-friendly and worker-unfriendly economic set-up since the 19th century.

Even so, as Geoffrey Wheatcroft argues in today's Guardian, the shift to the right seems unstoppable. He adds:
"The latest survey from the National Centre for Social Research showed that, for one example among many, the proportion of British people who thought that homosexual relations were wrong had fallen to 36% from 62% in 1983. And yet those who supported redistribution from rich to poor had also fallen, from 51% in 1994 to 38%, and for the first time only a minority even of Labour voters believed in redistribution".
The problem, however, remains structural. Who is a victim of this recession supposed to turn to? The same party who presided over the City's binge, relaxed-about-the-filthy-rich and we're-all-freelancers-now? Or maybe the Etonians who would do exactly the same except without introducing each policy with "We understand your concerns but..."? Where exactly is the way out on offer?

"Oh", I hear you say, "but you don't have to vote Labour or Tory". Well, not quite. The country's electoral system leaves you with very little choice. With the exception of a handful of seats (i.e. Brighton Pavillion and certain LibDem candidates somewhere) -nowhere near enough to make a difference- parties questioning the general direction as embraced since 1979 don't stand a chance and never will.

Also: listen to Turkeys voting for Christmas, or read this summary on BBC News Online.


Anonymous said...

thanks for allowing me to see that gross picture as i was going through my rss reader. how about choosing something a little more subtle next time?

claude said...

Remind me...whose blog is this...mine or yours, Anonymous?